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Music, Movie Series Offer Summer Fun for Families

This summer, Montgomery County is the spot for a wide selection of activities for families who are spending their summers at home, including various music and movie events. Most of these events are free and offer something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Waterway Nights
The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a concert every Saturday in June through July 2. Country group The Emory Quinn Band is Saturday, country rock band The Black Matches is June 25, and the NiteBeat Band is July 2. There will be unicycling clowns, jugglers and more at the events. All concerts are free and are at Waterway Square, located along Waterway Avenue.

For more information, visit www.thewoodlandscvb.com  or call 281-263-2447.

Dive-In Movie Series
This summer, The Woodlands Parks and Recreation Department will present a movie once a month at a different pool. The movie series kicks off with “Megamind” Saturday at Bear Branch Park, 5200 Research Forest Drive. In July, Cranebrook Park (11800 Cranebrook Drive) will host a showing of “Despicable Me” July 16. The movie series will end Aug. 6 with “Furry Vengeance” at the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center, 6535 Creekside Forest Drive.

Pools open at 8 p.m. and the movies start at 8:30 p.m. Concessions will be sold. The Dive-In Movie Series is $5 per person and children ages 3 and under get in for free.

For more information, call 281-210-3900.

Concerts In the Park
Each year, the Concert in the Park series offers everything from funk and jazz to country and rock. Country group the Buck Yeager Band will be performing from 7-9 p.m. July 4.

All concerts are free and are at Northshore Park, 2505 Lake Woodlands Drive. The concert series will start up again in the fall with Troy Hess (Sept. 11) and Cold Shot (Sept. 18).

For more information, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/

“First Thursday” Concerts
Since April 7, the city of Conroe has been hosting free concerts on the first Thursday of each month. This summer, everyone can enjoy listening to Shiny Ribs and Terri Hendrix July 7 or the Marshall Ford Swing Band and Johnny Lee Aug. 4. All concerts are from 6-9 p.m. at Heritage Place Park, located at 500 Metcalf St. The concert series has been a huge hit for several years.

“Sometimes, people from Houston will come,” said Janna Patrick, arts & communications coordinator for the city. “It all depends on who’s playing.”

For more information, visit www.cityofconroe.org  or call 936-522-3000.

Movie in the Park
The city of Conroe hosts the “Twilight Saga” Summer Movie Series at Heritage Place Park, 500 Metcalf St., near downtown Conroe for free. The movie series will start with “Twilight” June 17, continue with “New Moon” July 15 and end with “Eclipse” Aug. 19. Free chips and salsa will be provided by Chipotle and other concessions will be sold. An adult is required to accompany all children.

For more information, visit www.cityofconroe.org  or call 936-522-3900.

The Woodlands Annual Red, Hot & Blue Festival

Monday, July 4, 2011
Town Green Park and Waterway Square
6 pm – 10 pm

Celebrate America at the 14th Annual Red, Hot & Blue Festival and Fireworks Extravaganza! The Festival, produced by The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau, is FREE and open to the public.

The Festival will be held at 2 locations – Town Green Park and Waterway Square – on Monday, July 4, 2011 from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Woodlands students raise $2,800 for local wounded veteran

When a few teachers at Collins Intermediate School in The Woodlands decided to raise funds for a local wounded veteran, 2007 College Park High School graduate Pfc. Hunter LeVine, they were hoping students could donate $1 apeice.

Instead, the teachers’ 90 students raised nearly $450 in two weeks, spreading the fundraising effort to the entire school, which raised $2,800 in three weeks for LeVine, who lost both eyes while serving in Iraq in May 2008. A check for the funds for the Helping a Hero Wounded Hero Home Program was presented to former Sgt. Eddie Wright at a presentation at Collins Intermediate Tuesday.

“We are so proud of you and our kids and we want you to know that we support our men and women in service,” said teacher Dana Smith to Wright.

LeVine, a member of the 10th Mountain Division, 4th Brigade, 230th Charlie Company, 2nd Platoon, was injured in May 2008 when the Humvee he was driving was hit by a warhead. He lost both eyes and suffered severe injuries to his face. In April, LeVine was named a recipient of the Helping a Hero Wounded Hero Home Program, which is raising $100,000 for the home.

Smith said teachers and students have felt connected to LeVine because he is from The Woodlands and could have been a student at Collins. Students have been writing LeVine since his injury and Smith said she was recently “wondering how Hunter’s doing,” when she read an article about his involvement with Helping A Hero. The teachers then got together and decided to raise funds for the program.

Although LeVine was unable to attend Tuesday, Wright, a former Helping a Hero home recipient from Conroe, received the check on LeVine’s behalf. Wright lost his hands and forearms in Iraq in 2004. A home was built for him in the Graystone Hills subdivision in Conroe about a year ago.

“I really appreciate all the good work you’ve done and I’m sure Hunter appreciates it,” Wright said.

Since moving into the home, Wright has married fourth-grade teacher Cody Wright and has a daughter on the way in July. Married to a teacher, Wright said he has received many letters from students and that they are often “funny” and “creative.”

“It means a lot that you’ve got people thinking about you when you’re injured,” Wright said. “I love that the community keeps giving back. People here still know that there’s a war going on, and that’s easy for some people to tune out.”

Students who raised funds and wrote letters said they connected to LeVine’s story because he is from the community.

“You feel like he’s our neighbor and we wanted to help him,” said fifth-grader Heather Noonan, who donated Easter money from her grandmother.

Fifth-grader Vishnu Sajit admitted he had a hard time convincing his parents to donate, but when he told them LeVine’s story and that he graduated from College Park, they “donated quite a bit.” Sajit’s sister, Gopika, is a senior at College Park.

Noonan and Sajit said they had written letters to LeVine praising him for his service and the sacrifices he had made, and while they would have liked to meet him, they were glad Wright spoke.

“It’s another amazing story of someone who risked his life serving,” Noonan said.

The students are no stranger to interaction with military personnel. Teacher Nancy Williams’ son, 1st Lt. Trey Williams, is serving his second deployment in Iraq with plans to come home in July. Williams said students have been writing to her son for two years and he even Skyped with students prior to their TAKS test this year to wish them luck.

Williams believes the community embraces the military and said she receives e-mails from parents asking about her son. Although this is the school’s first military fundraiser, she believes the students could have a similar fundraiser in the future.

“They connect because they have a brother or sister who is serving or they know someone who has served,” Williams said. “This generation of kids is so respectful...They are so patriotic.”

Source: The Woodlands Villager By Matt Stephens